Friday, September 19, 2008

Lori Nix

What inspired you to start taking photographs, and what is the primary inspiration for you to keep working in this field?

I came to photography through the back door. I really didn’t start taking photographs until I went to college. I was friends with the college newspaper editor and I needed a job. She taught me how to process film and print the black and white photographs needed for the weekly edition. I was the darkroom technician for two years, then tried my hand at being the photo editor. My main job responsibility consisted of taking photographs of sporting events, campus life, and breaking news stories. I learned pretty fast that I wasn’t a very good photojournalist. I much preferred being secluded in the darkroom, working with processes, and not interacting with the public. Since I’m not a “people person” per se, staying inside and building my own environments to photograph is the best way I can approach my photography.
I’m in love with process and technique and my way of working is very process oriented. I thrive on the daily challenges of creating a diorama and all the problems it presents. I think those continuous challenges are what keep me inspired and working in this field.

In your opinion and experience, how can emerging photographers evaluate themselves as ready to start promoting their works and seek broader exposure for their photographs? What is one vital action you would recommend photographers undertake to find their audience, be included in exhibitions, and gain professional representation?

My biggest piece of advice for any emerging photographer I meet is to attend a portfolio review such as Fotofest in Houston, Texas or PhotoLucida in Portland, Oregon to name a few. Yes, it’s costs a lot of money, but you are investing in your career. I can’t think of a better way of getting your work in front of so many photography professionals than the twenty minutes of undivided attention you get with a portfolio review. More important than this, are the connections you make with other photographers. You become friends, share information, and see how your work relates to theirs. I believe it is your friends who will help out your career the most with gallery connections, inclusions into exhibitions, and spreading your name around to their friends. I am indebted to a lot of my friends for getting my career to where it is today.

How did it come about that you achieved the status of successful, professional photographer? What steps were involved in reaching your level of success?

I honestly believe my success has been the result of a lot of hard work as well as simply being lucky. When I left school, I didn’t have any idea of how to get my career off the ground. I’ve taken the long, long, long approach by starting with juried shows, group exhibitions, and sending countless information packets that eventually found themselves back in my mailbox. Yet by trying again and again, I finally built up a little recognition, while continuing to hone my photographic craft. I applied for grants and artist residencies. The first national recognition came with a monograph published by Light Work in Syracuse, New York. This publication was sent to many university libraries, photography teachers and collectors. With the director Jeff Hoone’s help, I was given more visibility than I could imagine. After this publication, I attended several portfolio reviews and was picked up by a few commercial art galleries and was offered shows at several prominent non-profit art spaces. For now, the momentum continues. I know my art career will face ups and downs in the future. I’m trying to brace myself for these extremes.

Lori Nix, Vacuum Showroom (from The City)

Lori Nix, Tent Revival (from Accidentally Kansas)

Lori Nix, Wasps (from Insecta Magnifica)

Lori Nix, Great Hall (from The City)

Lori Nix, Natural History (from The City)

Lori Nix, Aquarium (from The City)

Lori Nix, Library (from The City)

© all images Lori Nix

About this Blog

Two Way Lens is a project designed to inform and inspire emerging photographers wanting to focus their creative output in a way that enhances their chances of finding an audience, being included in exhibitions and ultimately achieving gallery representation. The journey from inspired artist to successful artist is one that is often difficult to negotiate and hard to control. On these pages, I will feature the experiences and opinions of other photographers who I have found inspiring, and hopefully the knowledge they have built in their own experiences will be valuable to all of us finding our own way to sharing our creativity with the wider world.